5-1, followed by 0-5 – a thrilling tie in Kragujevac

Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) v Vouliagmeni (GRE) 9-9

After nine years Vouliagmeni returned to Champions League action, though for the first time since the new format had been launched in 2013/14. Their start was encouraging, Charalampos Troulos opened the scoring after 1:17 minutes and his team kept this 0-1 lead for quite a while, before Nemanja Stanojevic put the home side on the scoreboard after 5:19 minutes. But once the ice was broken, the Serbs started rolling and added two more in two minutes to lead 3-1 after eight minutes.

The second period continued as the first finished, it looked just even more catastrophic from the Greeks’ angle. The Serbs added two more while killed four man-downs –Vouliagmeni lost their composure in front completely and at halftime they looked a bit hopeless and to face a big defeat.

What happened in the third, was absolutely contradicting everything having happened so far. The Greeks, unable to score since 0-1, for 12:43 minutes, hit one from their first possession and added another action goal in one and a half minutes. That sent the Serbs off-balance, they missed two man-ups, the visitors converted a penalty in between for 5-4. Soon Nikolaos Papasifakis completed a hattrick to equal the game and in 47 seconds another action goal put Vouliagmeni ahead at 5-6. One more man-down was killed by a Greek block so in eight minutes things turned upside down.

While this 0-5 rush came out of the blue, now Radnicki seemed to be in the same desperate situation. They were not, however, came back as strong as Vouliagmeni had done eight minutes earlier. Once Marko Radulovic managed to put the ball away from their first man-up, the psychological barriers were brought down and soon Josip Vrlic’s fine hit from the centre gave them back the lead.

After a quick exchange of extraman goals and then some exciting battling, Luka Pljevancic doubled the gap, immediately after the Serbs denied Vouliagmeni’s 6 on 5. With 3:34 on the clock, Radnicki led 9-7, few would have guessed that the Serbs couldn’t add any more in the remaining time. On contrary, Papasifakis netted two in 40 seconds (it was his 4th and 5th in the evening) for 9-9 and there was still 2:02 minutes to play. The hosts missed one more man-up, the Greeks also had two more possessions but in fact neither side got really close to score the game-winner.

How they saw it

Uros Stevanovic, coach, Radnicki

“I think, all the people present or in front of the screens could enjoy this game, it was really interesting for them – but for us it was not, and the result is not so good. It is very important to win the games, especially the home games against our direct rivals in order to make the Final Eight. Today two points were lost and that makes the rest of the Champions League season very difficult for us.”

Vladimir Vujasinovic, coach, Vouliagmeni

“It was a very difficult match for both teams. We made it at the end, we have the first point in the Champions League. We have to enjoy this result as this was a very good start for my team. Now we play our next two games at home and try to take advantage of that.”